Reflections for November are by Bishop Luis Secco, Bishop of Willemstad, Curacao
Gospel Meditation John 18: 33b-37
The Gospel for the solemnity of Christ the King helps us to reflect and direct our attention on the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate; it is about two different and even opposing dimensions of kingship and regality. “Just as light has nothing in common with darkness… so the kingdom of God and a kingdom of sin cannot co-exist” (Origen).
Jesus is now standing in front of Pilate. He received humiliation and insults by the soldiers and the people. He was presented by the high priests as someone who is looking for political power, as the king of the Jews. Jesus clarifies his authority saying that it is not a worldly power he is looking for, but the “power” of love and service. His kingdom is not to be confused with any other political kingdom. Jesus has no political ambition; God’s kingdom is not based on weapons, violence and irrational obedience. When Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world” he wants to distinguish the regality according to the world from the kingship according to God. The first consists of domain: the king has the power of the truth; he is the master of truth. (In this sense, we are also part of this world, using the power of ideas, since we believe that we possess the truth and others must submit to our thought).
The second regality consists of service. Jesus teaches us that he is on the side of truth, he does not feel in control of the truth, but he serves the truth, even more he is possessed by the truth. He had the humility and the willingness of listening and serving the others. Let us remember what has happened after the miracle of the loaves (Jn. 6:14-15), when the people wanted to make Jesus as the king in order to establish a new political order, a long awaited kingdom of God but according to their criteria. Jesus knows that the kingdom of God is not based on the power of arms and violence. People do not understand, they are disappointed and Jesus retires himself only to pray and talk with the Father.
Even the apostles during the passion simply do not understand; Peter wants to defend Jesus with the sword. But Jesus reminds him that he does not agree any form of violence and that his will is to do the will of the Father. Jesus reminded Peter that it is not through violence that He accomplishes the will of the Father but on the weakness of his love that He gives life. The kingdom of God is completely different from the realm of this earth.
What kind of king can one assumed in these conditions of instability, weakness and humiliation? Pilate is amazed… Jesus speaks of a power that is not according to the logic of domination but of truth. “I am a king, for this I was born, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of the truth listen to my voice” (Jn. 18:37). My brothers and sisters, what does it mean to be ‘on the side of truth’? Not all are called to testify to the truth but only those who have the knowledge and a direct experience of what they testify. The truth that Jesus testifies is the truth about God himself. And because of his intimate relationship with his Father, Jesus can testify to the truth; He is the one who can open the heart of the faithful because he is both King and Good Shepherd walking the way to the truth to be with the Father. And Jesus gave witness to the truth in obedience and total surrendering to death on the cross.
We thank you Jesus, our King and Savior, because through your unconditional love and service, you have showed us the real meaning of your kingdom which you came to establish here on earth. Make us worthy to belong to your kingdom by serving others with love. Amen.